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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago

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Somewhat of a mystery man, guitarist Dan Phillips recorded two CDs in Chicago in 2015 and 2016. One a trio session, and the other a septet with a cast of heavyweights from the Windy City. Phillips, a Berklee and Northwestern graduate, has been living and teaching in Bangkok, Thailand since the turn of the new millennium. Born in Illinois, he spent five years in New York, and returned to Chicago for another five before decamping to Bangkok. It's just as ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Panama Jazz Festival 2017

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Panama Jazz Festival Ciudad del Saber, Republic of Panama January 10-14, 2017 In terms of the number of marquee musicians it features over the course of five days, the annual Panama Jazz Festival is far from being in the big leagues of similar events in Latin American. That, however, only tells part of the story. Where the PJF stands head-and-shoulders above most music festivals is in terms of the emphasis it places on education, offering ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Akua Dixon: Akua's Dance

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A visage of joyousness fills this album cover. Cellist Akua Dixon, with back arched and eyes closed, can't contain herself. A knowing smile washes over her face as she bathes in the light with cello in hand. It's a picture that perfectly illustrates the artist's place in the moment: Dixon has reached a point of supreme confidence, where percipience permeates her every move and guides her every turn. She doesn't miss a step on Akua's Dance. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Craig Taborn: Daylight Ghosts

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In addition to his copious sideman work (including multiple recordings with James Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, and Chris Potter, among many others) pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn has found time to record intermittently as a leader since 1994's Craig Taborn Trio (IDW). This is his third ECM album, following the solo Avenging Angel (2011) and the trio date Chants (2012). The music Taborn composed for Daylight Ghosts' quartet emphasizes group improvisation over sharply defined soloist/accompanist roles, facilitated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Tampio: Live at PafA

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The long-standing practice of incorporating non-Western instruments within a jazz setting is further evolved on up-and-coming trumpeter and composer Vince Tampio's self-produced album Live at PafA. More specifically, the Philadelphia/New York-based musician culled various percussion instruments from Eastern Europe alongside an Indian tanpura for a performance of five original compositions recorded live at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Besides enhancing the pervading atmosphere of alluring exoticism, the nontraditional instrumentation maintains a spacious environment that proves ideal for a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tania Chen, Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, William Winant: Ocean of Storms

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In between stints as a videographer of below-ice underwater regions in Antarctica, guitarist Henry Kaiser maintains a remarkably busy agenda as an improvising musician. Here he's joined by Wadada Leo Smith, an occasional partner going back to their mutual connection with Eugene Chadbourne in the 1970s and later collaboration on their Yo Miles! album from 1998. Pianist Tania Chen and percussionist William Winant, both of whom have recently worked with Kaiser as well (on Megasonic Chapel, from 2015), round out ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom

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Foundation of Funk Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Denver February 11, 2017 Foundation: the base upon which something is built. From houses to skyscrapers, foundations are essential. They must be solid, strong and most of all, immovable. A funk foundation? That, too, must be solid and strong. But immovable? No, quite the opposite. A funk foundation supplies the movement, the locomotion, in a word: the groove. One of the most famous and influential foundations ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita: Transparent Water

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Omar Sosa would make an excellent global ambassador. He seems to make friends and erase boundary lines wherever he goes. Back in 2012, the Cuban pianist connected with Senegalese kora guru Seckou Keita through a mutual musical associate--drummer Marque Gilmore. Sosa and Keita struck up a quick friendship at that initial meeting, ultimately leading to the creation of this radiant collaboration. They laid down the basic tracks for the project in 2013 and added some other worldly (and otherworldly) voices ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Bill Dahl's The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music’s Golden Age

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The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music's Golden Age Bill Dahl 224 Pages ISBN: # 978-02263966992 University Of Chicago Press 2016 A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring... There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. --Alexander Pope Except when it doesn't, and we believe we know all; ...


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